California’s new law drives a major wedge between police and the public

(Photo - Screenshot - YouTube)

California’s new law drives a major wedge between police and the public

If you saw an officer in need of help… what would you do? 

Most people would step in and offer assistance… no questions asked.

But in California’s latest move to further the divide between the police and the public, citizens would now be legally allowed to refuse to help a police officer who needs assistance.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed their newest anti-police bill into law on Tuesday, the Sacramento Bee reported. State leaders have said that it now allows citizens to avoid “an untenable moral dilemma.”

Moral dilemma? From assisting an officer with an arrest if he’s in need of help?

gavin_newsom_california_governor

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the new law on Tuesday. (Wikipedia)

 

We get it. Maybe there shouldn’t be a fine or a jail sentence associated with choosing to not get involved. Perhaps the original law from the 1870’s is a bit outdated.

But what is this bill really saying?

Essentially, it’s driving a bigger wedge between officers and civilians.

 

People now are essentially told to let a cop fend for himself if he’s being overpowered by a dangerous perpetrator. It affirms the decision to stand by and film or watch while a hero’s life is in danger.

The new bill would get rid of the old law – the California Posse Comitatus Act of 1872, which required a civilian to step in and assist an officer during an arrest if necessary. For those who ‘violated’ it, they could face up to a $1,000 fine.

9,999 times out of 1,000… an officer isn’t going to ask for an untrained bystander to step in and help. But sometimes it’s necessary… and it could mean the difference between life and death. 

Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans?  It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans.  Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice.  Check it out today.

 

Let’s look at this objectively.  

How many people were ever really charged with this misdemeanor? What Governor Newsom did was remind everyone that they have a choice — and basically push them to make the choice to carry on with their lives instead of getting involved.

Our question is… if this law had simply remained the way it was, how many people would have chosen to step in and help when they saw another human in need?

And how big of a drop-off rate would we see now that this bill is being pushed in the public eye? Will people see a police officer being attacked and because they don’t like cops, they choose to stand there and watch him die?

It brings back memories of the time when a bystander chose to broadcast an officer’s death to Facebook Live instead of putting down the phone and doing what they could to help.

Is this the country we want to live in?

Breaking News: Officer down – newspaper shares Facebook live of officer’s death

 

Will protesters and anti-police ‘activists’ feel even more emboldened by their supposed morals?

The California State Sheriff’s Association said they were “unconvinced that this statute should be repealed.”

Of course. Though it may have stemmed from the days of slavery… this law is ultimately about doing what’s right and assisting a public servant in their time of need.

 

This new law comes shortly after the state appeals court repealed the ‘Good Samaritan Law’, which protects those who take it upon themselves to help emergency personnel with a situation. 

The law had read, “No person who in good faith, and not for compensation, renders emergency medical or nonmedical care at the scene of an emergency shall be liable for any civil damages resulting from any act or omission.” The law additionally says that a person won’t be held liable for civil damages unless their actions constituted “gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. “

Thankfully, there are still a lot of incredible people in our country who would never think twice about helping someone who needed it.

Here’s a recent case when a good Samaritan stepped in to help an officer – making sure the bad guy went to jail and the good guys got to go home safely.

In Texas in June, Officer Jeff Carey spotted a man digging through a vehicle that turned out to be stolen. As Officer Carey climbed out of his cruiser to approach the man, the suspect took off on foot, quickly outrunning the officer. He remained on the loose for the next few hours.

Shortly after, authorities say Officer Carey spotted the suspect outside of a local restaurant. Carey quickly hopped out of his vehicle and began chasing the suspect on foot.

The officers were extremely grateful for the help that these citizens offered. (Lewisville PD)

 

That’s when former rugby player, Michael Barrera, noticed the pursuit. Barrera had reportedly just finished a meal at the restaurant with his family and was returning because of a forgotten item. 

The opportunity for a takedown presented itself. So Barrera leapt into action, lunging at the fleeing suspect and successfully taking him the ground.

“I played a lot of rugby in my days, you know, I’m a little older now, I still got little wheels,” Barrera told FOX4 in an interview. “It’s like a rugby ball, go after it. You know, the game ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

Officer Carey said he noticed a “blur” as Barrera took out the suspect. Carey was able to quickly get to the pair on the ground and took the suspect into custody. 

But the tale of the Good Samaritans doesn’t end there.

“As soon as I put the handcuffs on the suspect, my mind goes straight to my vehicle,” Carey said.

Having jumped out to pursue his perp, Carey had left his door wide open and his vehicle unattended with the keys still in the ignition.

But when he got back to the cruiser, he noticed it wasn’t sitting by itself.

While Barrera was assisting Carey with the takedown, his uncle George stood guard by the empty cruiser. 

“I wouldn’t want nobody to steal something out of my vehicle if I leave the door open, you know, so that was my instinct to stay behind,” he said. 

 

Police took the time to thank the men for their assistance with the suspect, noting that there was also a third unidentified man who helped.

“Besides taking that suspect into custody, that was the most important thing that happened to me that day, so I really appreciate it, both you guys,” Carey said.

Barrera and his uncle George pose with members of Lewisville PD. (Lewisville PD)

 

“We believe in community policing and these three men exemplify how working together can help keep our community safe,” the department said in a statement following the situation. “Thank you for being our other Brothers in Blue and our Green Guardian.”

Barrera said it was just the right thing to do. 

“Once they get in that vehicle and start their day, they got our back,” he said. “Lending a hand to any officer is a blessing.”

Another bill may be on the horizon to help out with attacks against police that seem so common these days.

The “Back the Blue Act,” also known as Senate Bill 1480, was introduced and the United Coalition of Public Safety (UCOPS) championed the effort of seeing that this legislation becomes law.

Essentially the bill would make attacking an officer a federal crime. The following are examples of what would be covered under the bill.

  • Assault officer while performing duties
  • Attacks on former LEO based on duties performed
  • Attacks because the person was perceived to be a LEO

The bill, in its entirety, can be read here.

 

Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today?  With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost. 

Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing!  (See image below.)  Thanks for being a part of the LET family!
 
Facebook Follow First

About The Author

The staff of Law Enforcement Today is comprised of career cops. Cumulatively we possess nearly a century of experience in the business of police work. Our backgrounds derive from the East Coast, West Coast, South and Upper Midwest. We are the voice of law enforcement, connecting with our readers throughout the entire country and uniting the Blue Family. We have our finger on the pulse of American law enforcement and endlessly support our brothers and sisters who hold the Thin Blue Line.

Stay Informed